Sunday, 20 October 2013

Cape Primrose

"Streptocarpella saxorum, Cape Primrose", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

A popular house plant, Streptocarpus (subgenus Streptocarpella), is an African-tropical genus of flowering plants in the family Gesneriaceae. The genus is native to Africa in the central, eastern and southern areas, including Madagascar. The flowers are five-petaled tubes, related to the African Violet family, almost orchid-like in appearance, and arch over the plant.  In the wild, species can be found growing on shaded rocky hillsides or cliffs, on the ground, in rock crevices, and almost anywhere the seed can germinate and grow. Although generally referred to simply as "Streptocarpus", or "Streps", one common name is "Cape Primrose", referring to the several species of Streptocarpus found in South Africa.

Fruit of Streptocarpus
The most unusual feature of this plant is that its flowers often seem to be floating 
gracefully above its leaves. 
The common flower colour is purple although various other cool-coloured shades do exist. The Cape Primrose is a perennial that grows to a height of 12 to 18 inches (about 30 to 45 centimeters).  

The genus is defined by having a spirally twisted fruit (from Greek via Latin, where strepto = twisted, carpus = fruit - Greek: Στρεπτόκαρπος).

I struggled with this drawing because I wanted so very badly to show the lovely, velvety appearance of these blossoms.  This is something I once was able to do easily with oil paints but which is almost impossible, I find, when using such simple computer software as I do.  As I have said so many times previously:  I know that sophisticated "art-work" software exists and I am sure that I would enjoy learning to use it; however, I simply cannot see how to fit such a course into such a restricted life as mine!  This is not a complaint, but, as you know, it doesn't take much activity before I find myself unable to do anything else but rest and rest and rest some more!

Ah, well, maybe I will suddenly discover new ways to use my current software that will give me the sophisticated results I so desire!  "All things are possible....."



Last Sunday I was delighted to receive a visit from Master Braden! I couldn't believe how much he had grown over the past few months.  He is such a delightful young man -- it is no wonder that the girls all make such a fuss over him!

Oh, yes, he did bring his parents with him and it was wonderful to see them as well.  We had a good visit, but, as always, it seemed much too short.  Sadly, the two photos below are the only ones from the visit that are halfway decent.  I think I must do something bad to my godson's cell phone camera!  Anyway, at least I have these two that I can show you.

Sallie and Braden -- Braden has his cap on in preparation for the trip home

Braden on first seeing Suki appear

It was truly wonderful to watch Braden when Suki decided to make an appearance.  As you can see from the photo above, Braden was, for an instant, unsure about this big, black cat.  However, it only took a moment before Braden was trying to pat Suki.  I placed her on my lap and held her so that Braden could observe her carefully before petting her.  The look on his face as he reached out to touch Suki's head was so beautiful -- so filled with wonder and amazement -- that it almost made me cry.  No one tried to take a photo at this point as it might have disturbed the moment, but it was a moment I will never forget.


Suki with her dolly, "Raggedy Ann".
(I had to hold up a toy mouse with one
hand while trying to take the photo to
get a look of interest on Suki's face!)
Last night as I was preparing to go to bed, I went around turning off various lamps that had been turned on much earlier in the day which was very grey and overcast.  As I did so, I happened to notice that I had left my umbrella open and sitting on the floor in the entryway.  I had left it there to dry after going out to do some errands earlier in the day. 

Initially, I started to just leave the umbrella as it was, but, knowing that by then it must be dry, I forced myself to turn back in order to put the umbrella away properly.  (I am just too well trained to be able to leave something like that undone!)

This looks something like
Suki did as she hit the floor
and began her run to safety!
My thoughts were elsewhere as I reached out and grabbed the opened umbrella from the floor.  Had I been paying more attention, I probably would not have been frightened so badly; however, several surprising things happened almost all at once:  as I grabbed the umbrella from the floor, Suki, who, unbeknownst to me, had been sleeping soundly under the umbrella, leapt about a foot into the air as only a startled cat can do which caused me to scream loudly.  The scream caused Suki to take off running at full speed towards the closest safe place which was under the wingback chair in the living room!

I actually had to sit down at this point (thankfully there was a cedar chest with pillows close by) as I felt somewhat weak in the knees. So there I sat, still holding the opened umbrella in my hand.  As I looked toward the living room, I could see two bright cat eyes starring at me intently from under the dark safety of the wingback chair.

After my pulse rate began to settle down, I saw the humour in the situation and began to laugh.  As I laughed, Suki seemed to understand that, whatever had happened, she was not in trouble and so she crawled out from under the chair, walked towards me and then sat down to give herself a short bath.  I closed the umbrella and put it away in its proper place.  As I walked back towards the living room, Suki gently began trying to shepherd me towards the kitchen, reminding me that she always gets a bedtime snack!

From this point on, the rest of the "getting-ready-for-bed" preparations continued normally with no further surprises.  By the time I was ready to crawl into bed, I was reasonably calm and ready for sleep -- as was Suki.  However, as I was falling to sleep, I found myself smiling at the memory of Suki leaping into the air.  It was an image fit for Halloween!

Otherwise, I am continuing to do reasonably well.  The news continues to be good in the sleep department as I am still free from any major "sleep attacks".  I do continue to have small ones but I guess these will just continue to be a nuisance indefinitely. Fortunately, this problem is something I can live with as it is now a problem which no longer endangers my life.

As well, the restless leg problems continue to be mild and intermittent -- quite unlike the suffering they were causing only a few months ago.  This is something else to be grateful for. Unfortunately, I am having more migraines once again, but this, too, seems to be a problem which is cyclical.  I can only hope that this very uncomfortable problem will settle down again during the next few months as well.

There are still other concerns under investigation, but no news of any definitive diagnoses yet.

I am able to continue doing my art even though I no longer have the stamina I did only a year or so ago -- but at least I am able to continue drawing.  I seem to have lost my focus somewhat except for the flower drawings.  Something happened to cause me to stop being quite so captivated by icons.  So, as you are aware, in an effort to expand my field of interest, I began drawing images of Our Lady and the Holy Child as they have been depicted in the western tradition.  This has kept my interest for a time; however, lately I find that I am no longer satisfied with this type of drawing.  So what is next?  I know the flower drawings will continue, but what else? If you have any suggestions, please pass them along for consideration.

It is almost time for the folks to come from St. Michael's Cathedral. They kindly come each Sunday and bring Our Lord to me in the Blessed Sacrament.  What a wonderful gift God has given us in the Holy Eucharist and how blessed I am to be able to receive Him even when I am unable to attend Sunday Mass.  What a blessing!

May the peace of God be with us all.  Amen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can't even take a nap without being disturbed